The Tippitoes Fuse is a mid-price, sturdy, umbrella-fold stroller, but the non-ergonomic design and extra weight make it less practical than it seems.
The Tippitoes brand motto is “Affordable quality”. Tippitoes sells a range of products from bedtime, bath time and feeding to play and travel. Its signature product was the first-ever doorway bouncer.
It also sells a range of simple pushchairs, the most expensive of which is the Fuse.. An umbrella-fold design, with most standard safety features, including five-point safety harnesses, bumper bar, lockable/swivel front wheels and linked rear-wheel brakes. Plus there’s a removable hood with viewing panel, a reclining seat, a shopping basket, cup holder and a rain cover.
What we love
First impressions of the Fuse are that it’s smart, sleek and modern. It comes in two colourways – all black or black with a matt silver chassis – so is gender neutral and free of tacky colours and patterns.
It comes with a short leaflet of instructions containing diagrams and text (a bonus since I’ve found many products are diagram only and harder to decipher).
It’s easy and intuitive to fold and unfold, a catch keeps it compact when folded and there’s a useful carry handle on the side for transportation.
It’s pretty sturdy – the seat and hood fabric is thick and durable and the frame feels strong. The hood is a decent size and the fabric attaches to the seat with Velcro making it sheltered and draught-free. Overall it feels quite good quality and worth its price.
The seat reclines to flat so is suitable for a newborn in theory, although the lack of head hugger would put me off using this with a very small baby. When larger babies and toddlers fall asleep, you can recline them easily, though. Although the most upright position is a little reclined, my passenger always seemed comfortable and enjoyed the ride.
The shopping basket under the seat is a very good size for this type of pushchair and I could fit a surprising amount in there. Nice details, such as the two small pockets on the back of the hood and cup holder on the frame, make this a practical product from a storage point of view. It comes with a rain cover that folds neatly into the basket.
What to watch out for
Umbrella-fold strollers are designed to be easy to transport when folded, but beware – at 8.8kg, this is rather heavy compared to others on the market. It’s worth collapsing and lifting it to see if it’s light enough for you.
There is no apron or foot muff included so you’d need to buy one for the winter. And while a rain cover is included, it’s very thin so only useful in light showers.
The five-point harness was a bit of a pain to adjust – I needed to turn the buggy over and fiddle around to figure out how it worked as there’s nothing in the instruction leaflet to show you. When I had worked out what to do, and had put the harness on the biggest setting, the vertical straps were still too short to reach over my toddler’s shoulders. I was only able to use the lap part of the harness and had to leave the shoulder straps undone. Not satisfactory from a safety point of view.
I found the bumper bar a bit pointless, especially since it moves up and down as soon as your toddler rests their hands on it. Plus, you have to remove and carry it separately when you collapse the buggy, so I ended up taking it off completely.
My main problem with the Fuse is its dimensions. I’m only 5ft 6in yet I found it really uncomfortable to push. I thought it was the height of the handles, but when I compared this to other pushchairs there wasn’t much difference. The design glitch seems to be that the handles are angled too far forward, which means you have to lean in to push the buggy. If you try to walk upright, there isn’t enough room for you to stride so you end up kicking the back of the buggy so you have to stoop to push it. Basically, it’s back-breaking work – I found it uncomfortable on even the shortest journeys. I asked my husband and a few friends to try it and it wasn’t just me. Unprompted, they all complained about the same issue. It’s hard to understand how such a design could have made it into production – it’s definitely worth giving this a good walk around the shop before buying.
Who is it best for?
Parents who want a sturdy, durable stroller for occasional use and don’t mind the increased weight or handlebar issue.
3/5. A well-made, reasonably priced but oddly-designed pushchair, that’s worth trying before buying to see if it suits your size and stride.
Tippitoes Fuse, £129, www.tippitoes.com or call 0845 600 8595.